Ramallah – The Arab decision to cut ties with Qatar on Monday increased the pressure on Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip, after Doha tightened the noose on the Islamic movement in an attempt to avoid Arab and Western criticism for supporting the Muslim Brotherhood.
Hamas, a sister movement to the Brotherhood, now fears paying the price of future Qatari-Arab reconciliations, particularly since backing the Brotherhood is one of the major reasons listed by the Arab powers on Monday for severing their diplomatic relations with Qatar.
Concern has spread to the ranks of Hamas, not a long time ago, when the movement started to witness changes in Qatari political support, particularly when Doha officially asked Hamas not to use its territories for directing any activities against Israel, as uncovered by Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper on Sunday.
According to the sources, a Qatari high-ranking official informed the Hamas leadership that they needed to understand the political developments in the region.
The Qatari decision also comes shortly after US President Donald Trump launched an attack on Hamas, describing the group as terrorist and criticizing all those providing cover to a terrorist organization.
Sources said that such a request was not surprising for Hamas, which received a similar demand from Turkey, more than a year ago, when Israel launched a campaign against Hamas operative Saleh al-Arouri, accusing him of conducting operations against Israel from the West Bank.
Following the campaign, Turkey requested that al-Arouri leave its territories.
It is also still unclear whether al-Arouri, who was recently elected member of the movement’s politburo and who lives in Qatar, would return to Doha after leaving the country.
On Monday, Palestinian and Israeli sources confirmed that al-Arouri and another official, Moussa Doudine, were expelled from Qatar. Hamas has however denied the reports.
Meanwhile, the movement remained silent following the Arab decision to cut ties with Qatar on Monday.
Sources warned however that it would end up in an embarrassing position if Qatar asked it to reveal its position on the latest developments.